Single-Parent Families

Single-parent families are more likely than two-parent families to live in poverty. Not surprisingly, many of the participants in MDRC’s evaluations and demonstrations across policy areas are single parents and their families.

The Latest
Report

FSS provides case management services and a long-term escrow-savings account to housing-assisted families; an enhanced version also offered short-term cash work incentives. Six-year results of the random assignment evaluation show few significant effects overall for either program. However, the enhanced program increased employment and earnings for participants not working at enrollment.

Report

This program spent a little over a dollar to transfer one dollar in cash rewards to families who met the required benchmarks. These rewards produced positive effects on some outcomes, but left others unchanged. While the program benefited participating families, the cost to taxpayers exceeded the economic value of these effects.

Key Documents
Report

This report from the national Employment Retention and Advancement Project examines the 27,000 single parents who participated in the studied programs to understand the characteristics of those who successfully advanced in the labor market.

Infographic

As the first major effort to use a behavioral economics lens to examine human services programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States, the BIAS project demonstrated the value of applying behavioral insights to improve the efficacy of human services programs.